One area that keeps popping up in my research on the subject is deep-south Kona. I always seem to run into something new on the Big Island.
My first expedition to south Kona in search of hammerheads was organized through some people that knew people who finally put me in contact with a tropical fish collector who was more familiar with the area between Honaunau and South Point better than anybody. He sees hammerheads on about a third of the dives he makes in that area. We left from Miloli’i. The first two dives were spots that rarely see visitors, and the lack of attention made for some spectacular fish diversity. Unfortunately, neither spot had hammerheads. We dropped our anchor on our way back at a spot called Okoe Bay for one last dive.
Okoe Bay is protected from aquarium collectors, a policy this guy supports firmly. He would work outside the protected zone while I would head in. My instructions were clear, forget about hammerheads for now since they don’t see many at this spot and just enjoy the stunning dive. I wasn’t down there for ten minutes before I spotted a trio of large ulua racing around at the back of a small cave. As I looked behind me, the collector’s assistant was signaling wildly for shark. I looked around where he was pointing and saw nothing but blue water. Back on the boat, he explained that while I was monkeying around with the ulua, he watched as a pair of hammerheads swam by and directly over my head. Both he and the lead collector saw the sharks. I was close but devastated.
I have to apologize for completely wasting your time here. I tell the story because A)my bad luck is hilarious in hindsight and B) it was my first contact with hamerheads, even if I didn't know it at the time. Besides, later that afternoon I had an even rarer encounter (<-click here) that I won’t ever forget.